Mikey Eyssimont is about to face the team that drafted him for the first time, and in Los Angeles.
The San Jose Sharks’ newest skater was drafted 142nd-overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2016 NHL Draft. The 26-year-old left the Kings’ organization last season to join the Winnipeg Jets after 162 games with the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL-affiliate.
Although he never made an NHL debut for the club that drafted him — he made his NHL debut last year for the Jets — Eyssimont still largely credits the Kings for development into the player he is now.
“I think that the Kings have a huge focus on development, similar to the Sharks, [with] how they focus on their young players,” said Eyssimont. “Trying to develop those guys, before practice, after practice, on off days, you learn what it takes to work.”
Former players Sean O’Donnell and Jarrett Stoll were critical in Eyssimont’s development: “Having them around was definitely just something that helped me learn what it takes to get better and continue to have a development mindset. That’s something I still carry with me today.”
Eyssimont also credits former Reign head coach and current Anaheim Ducks assistant coach Mike Stothers. “[He’s] one of the toughest coaches I’ve had, but I wouldn’t be the person I am without him.”
Eyssimont specified: “He’s more of an old school coach. If think you can get away with some things as a young guy, and he doesn’t let that happen. So, you’re gripping the steering wheel on the way to practice a little bit, but after practice you’re better for it. He was instrumental in shaping me as the hockey player I am today [and] also the person.”
Eyssimont says he’s stayed close to Sean Durzi from his days as a member of the Kings organization.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said, when asked about his emotions facing the team that drafted him. “Always wanted to play back here in SoCal and play against them in this arena.”
SAN JOSE SHARKS (13-21-8)
James Reimer returns to the crease, otherwise the Sharks should sport the same lineup as yesterday:
LOS ANGELES KINGS (24-14-6)
Check out LA Hockey Now for the Los Angeles Kings‘ side of things.
WHERE TO WATCH
The San Jose Sharks will take on the Los Angeles Kings at 7 PM PST at Crypto.com Arena. Watch it live on TNT. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.